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Standards vs. Differentiation, a lesson plan

I have been solo teaching since the semester in Drawing and Painting.  Part of my planning is to rework or create lesson plans that fit a newer format the district art departments are trying to implement.  The purpose of the new format is to provide continuity in instruction and to be able to have clear standards for each lesson.  The planning takes fifteen times longer than it will take to teach the lesson but it is vital.  With a clear plan and clear expectations, lessons go smoother and students are more engaged.  The planning keeps both me and the students on track, even though I have learned to be flexible within my time frames.

2-Negative Shape lesson

One of the sections of the lesson plans that I have been working on is the section for modifications.  I have modifications for English Language Learners and Special Ed students who need various types of modifications but I noticed that the lessons have not made specific modifications for gifted students.  I have started including those in my lesson planning.  We do have a year-long Advanced Placement art class for which students must submit a portfolio.  All the other classes are one semester only.  Of the seventeen-hundred students in our high school, only thirty per year can take AP art.  The other students with an artistic bent must go through the same classes as everyone else.  The great thing about art is that it is possible to accommodate a wide range of skill-level within one class.  All our classes are mixed grades and include students from fourteen to eighteen.  It takes some planning to make it workable but it is such a joy to see, in the same class, students who are just beginning to find their creative skills and students who are well-acquainted with their creative side in what Pressley and McCormick called the “zone of proximal development” (Pressley & McCormick 2007. P. 156).  Adjusting instruction to reach all the students, using the visual arts standards for the State of Washington is not as difficult as it seemed at the beginning of the school year.  It turns out, it just takes planning.  When I started this internship, I felt deeply that the word standards was at odds with the word differentiation, and it seemed impossible to differentiate instruction while my overriding guide must be a set of rigid standards.  But I am learning to appreciate that the standards have, built into them, flexibility to teach to all levels.   I look forward to modifying my own lesson further so that every student gets the most out of their time in my art classes.

Pressley, M. & McCormick, C.B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators.  New York, NY: Guilford Press.

~ by anitawesto on March 31, 2013.

drawing & painting, teaching